Monday, December 25, 2017

Potatoes Savoyarde: A Classic Gratin (for 2)

This Christmas was just me and the hubby so I looked up dinner for 2 recipes. He asked for scalloped potatoes and so I made this one extra special. I found some smoked gruyere at Sprouts and topped it with crushed ritz crackers. Knowing he would want leftovers, I doubled the recipe. I'm so happy that we still have potatoes from our garden. It turned out great and was a nice side for the ham steak (with a pineapple, maple, dijon mustard and brown sugar glaze); we also had creamed peas with pearl onions and fresh corn (cut off the cob). The hubby doesn't eat sweets during the day, so we'll dig into the cherry pie and Christmas Gl├╝hwein  later tonight.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Blueberry Ginger Kombucha

It only took me 6 months to overcome my fear of making Kombucha. Initially, I got a scoby from a generous neighbor, but kept putting off creating the final product. I even made a few new batches before finally knuckling down and following through. The hubby's body has been wanting Kombucha for a while now and so I decided it was time to stop paying $4/bottle at the store. I'm so happy I found this as the first recipe on Pinterest. The hubby loves blueberry and ginger combined with the probiotic value of Kombucha is a winner! I loved the flavor. So excited to keep this ball rolling. Currently the recipe only makes 1 gallon, and in this elevation, it takes about 2 weeks to get the perfect flavor. I think the hubby will probably drink all of this in less than a week, so I'll probably make 2-3 gallons in the future. I used passion fruit black tea for that extra berry flavor and in the next batch, I used mango black tea. Really excited for another recipe to try. Kombucha really is the miracle cure for intestinal health.

The finished product is in the quart jars and the new batch is in the gallon jar.

Here's the recipe that I followed for: 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Cabbage Rolls with Pomegranate Reduction (AIP)

We've been overdoing the sugars and fats, so we're trying to get back on the healthy path. Since we have an abundance of sausage, I'm now always looking for healthier dishes particular to pork. This recipe suggests lamb but German Sausage worked just as well. Also, I didn't want to mess with cutting up pomegranate, so I left out the seed in the stuffing and used pomegranate juice for the reduction. It tasted very asian with the ginger and cabbage. The sauce was a "sweet and sour" flavor that we absolutely loved. I would definitely make this one again for guests.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Salsa Verde Enchiladas with Venison

A friend of ours traded pork for venison, so I perused Pinterest for guidance. I found this super delicious and simple version. I modified it a bit by cooking the venison and onions together and adding the spices all in one pot. I used pork broth to dip the tortillas in, sprayed the pan with olive oil, layered the meat, used green chili (canned earlier this year from our garden), sour cream and shredded cheese inside each tortilla and topped with green chili, rotel and shredded cheese. It tasted lighter/healthier than a typical beef enchilada recipe. Definitely a keeper. :)

Fruit and Spice Rounds (Christmas Cookie Countdown 2017 #14)

Unfortunately, this is my last one of the season. Life decided that I needed to go back to school and study hard for the rest of the year. I am cataloging the rest and will get back to them when I have more free time. I really liked the flavor of these cookies, but I ran out of time to ice them. I ended up using them as breakfast cookies. I used the food processor to chop the walnuts, dates and raisins so that when you're eating them, they are well blended. I also didn't roll them out; I made them like drop cookies. I want to make them again, properly, according to the directions so that they are more visually appealing. I don't typically like raisins in my cookies, but this one has just the right combination.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Red Velvet White Chip Cookie (Cookie Countdown 2017 #13)

This one is by far my favorite for ease and flavor. As far as red velvet, I think using dark chocolate cocoa and the suggested "2 drops" of red food coloring didn't give enough red tint to the dough. I'm okay with that anyway. They are absolutely amazing chocolate cookies! I may not get to share this one. :)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Whipped Shortbread Cookie (Christmas Countdown 2017 #12)

I was relieved to have a quick easy cookie to make. I read the reviews and the only complaint people had was that the nonpareils didn't stick to the cookie. I ended up making dough balls then pressing them into a small bowl of nonpareils and it worked beautifully. The other important part about this particular cookie is to make sure you keep the dough balls small so that the cookie is bite size. Not an "amazing" cookie, but definitely one you could have with hot chocolate or coffee. :)

Strawberry Linzer Cookies (Christmas Countdown 2017 #11)

Ok, so at first I was excited when I saw this one and determined that I was going to do it right. I went to Michaels and bought an actual Christmas Linzer cookie cutter. Then I started on the recipe. Clearly, I need a LOT more practice with linzer cookies. I don't think it would have been so bad if I didn't have to add the egg white and almond topping. They ended up a messy, but yummy version. Oh well. At least I'm prepared to keep trying in the future. I actually find them easier and more enjoyable to make than decorating sugar cookies. :)

Friday, December 8, 2017

Saltine Toffee Bark (Christmas Cookie Countdown 2017 #10)

Not sure how this is a cookie, but, I've always wanted to try this one. The hubby, who LOVES toffee, thought it was amazing. Personally, a little bit goes a LONG way. It definintely is toffee. I wish I had seen the alternate instructions which state to use brown sugar instead of white. I think it would have been a beautiful brown toffee color. Nonetheless, it was a great bark to add a variety plate of cookies. :)

Santa Sugar Cookies (Christmas Cookie Countdown 2017 #9)

Sugar cookies are my least favorite because of all the time-consuming decorating. But....I will say, these were fairly easy--mostly piping and sprinkles. I loved using the heart-shaped cookie cutter; I could also see how these would make cute clowns for a birthday party. One thing to note is the size of the ingredient list. I try to always make a habit of reading other people's reviews and this time I'm glad I did. The recipe was supposed to make 48 but I definitely don't have time to decorate that many! lol Twenty-four was just fine. :)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Cherry Kiss Cookie (Christmas Cookie Countdown 2017 #8)

I love maraschino cherries and in a cookie? Even better. I followed the directions, but I think I would like to add chopped pecans in the dough and use maraschino cherries instead of hershey's kisses next time instead. These would be perfect for Valentine's day too. :)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Cuban Style Slow Roasted Pork

Picnic Roast can be fattier than a shoulder roast so I've been trying to find ways to cook it that make it irresistible. I typed "Picnic Roast" on Pinterest and came across this Cuban Pork recipe. Wowser! This is probably one of the best marinades I've ever tried. I wish I had the time to follow all the steps to the letter (i.e. marinade time, oven time to get it cooked and charred), but I settled for the good ole crockpot instead and it turned out great! I served with some rice and salad (with homemade Blue Cheese dressing). Definitely ruined my diet this weekend; I couldn't stop eating it! I think it was also extra good since it was from one of our farm raised hogs. :)

Holiday Cornflake Wreaths (Christmas Cookie Countdown 2017 #7)

Day #7 of my cookie countdown to Christmas. I jazzed this one up a little and have a couple of tricks to help it come out looking great. 1. I added green food coloring to the marshmallows and butter. 2. I used regular cornflakes instead of frosted 3. I only used a couple of red hots (no sprinkles). 4. I had turned the oven on for something else, so when they were cooling off too fast and the red hots weren't sticking, I popped them in the oven for 1 minute and "perfecto"! 5. I then put them in the freezer to set up faster. If you don't like red hots, I think M&Ms would work great. It only makes 16 (and I had to get a little creative since I only have (1) 12 muffin tin; so you might need to double the recipe if you want more than that.

Pinwheel Cookies (Christmas Cookie Countdown 2017 #6)

This one was easy to make, but took several steps (as in 2-3 days). I think next time I will freeze them then cut so that I get rounder shapes. My cookies definitely don't look like the picture. I will say though, I like the filling. It tasted like a liquid version of Terry's Orange. And once they were cooked, it was hard to stop eating them. *A word of caution, please use a good metal cookie spatula and take them immediately off the cookie sheet or they will get sticky and harden.*

Friday, December 1, 2017

Snowman Treats (Christmas Cookie Countdown 2017 #5)

#5 is a cute one. Again, I recommend making the night before and let it set overnight. The hardest part is strategically placing the mini chocolate chips. It's hard to pick them up and then not obliterating the white.  I ended up using almond bark as the dipper.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Truffle-filled Cookie Tarts (Christmas Cookie Countdown 2017 #4)

So far so mmm-mmm-good this year. I have really enjoyed every cookie I've made, but this one was super delicious. I mean, chocolate on chocolate in chocolate?! I made my tarts too big and the holes too small so I had a plenty of filling left over--I almost ate the entire bowl of truffle goodness. :D  This one is kind of like a brownie filled with chocolate pudding. Worth the effort. I have a feeling this one will end up being a year-round favorite.

Nutella Tree Sandwiches (Christmas Cookie Countdown 2017 #3)

I love this recipe as far as cookie press dough goes. I had a hard time when I first moved to Colorado with them going flat and not keeping their shape. This is probably one of the best at keeping it's shape and flavor. A couple suggestions--I froze them after applying the nutella; you probably won't be able to serve them until the next day or several hours later. I didn't have any "gold pearl dust" and ended up keeping them plain which tasted just fine. I also ended up adding a little salt since I didn't see it listed in the ingredients. People who reviewed this recipe also suggested using different shapes and adding food coloring for various holidays throughout the year. Also, I have the Pampered Chef cookie press and is the best one I've ever used.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Jeweled Coconut Drops (Christmas Countdown 2017 #2)

Day number 2 of my 5th annual Countdown to Christmas cookies. So far both have been amazing. I love macaroons anyway so you didn't have to convince me that these would be delicious. Cream cheese and coconut are good any day of the week. I did have to use the wooden spoon again after they finished cooking and used strawberry preserves instead. Here at 6400 ft elevation, I had to cook them for 15 minutes to get them toasted and dry. This will definitely not be the month to lose weight ;)

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Chocolate Snowballs (Christmas Cookie Countdown 2017 #1)

This is my 5th annual Christmas Countdown tradition where I try to bake a cookie-a-day until Christmas (provided by Taste of Home). So far, I've been pretty successful, but not 100%. Some years it was timing, other years, I simply chose not make some of the selections. If it's too intricate then it doesn't happen. As much as I love to bake, I'm not very good at "pretty"; I'm better at "yummy". ;)

This one was easy to make and a GREAT number one for the year. I ended up using mini chips and walnuts.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Upside Down Gingerbread Pear Cake (AIP, dairy-free, gluten-free)

Once again, my attempt to make AIP desserts. When it comes to cakes and pastries, I haven't found one that has the texture I like. This one turned out good in flavor but grainy and didn't rise like a cake. The cake looked beautiful though and I'll probably try a regular version (with flour and eggs). Appreciate the friends and hubby who were willing to try it with me. It didn't go to waste. :)

Pigs in a Pillow (AIP)

We had another wonderful night hosting friends. They were willing participants in my AIP recipe adventures. I'm still not a fan of the textures of some of the recipes, but I improve with time. This one, however, was the perfect alternative to the Bisquick/doughy version. You can eat this all night and not feel sluggish or bloated. It was 99% AIP because some of the spices used in the sausage are not part of the Auto-Immune Paleo diet (pepper, red pepper flakes in the German sausage). I used a combination of German Sausage and Italian and just added maple syrup and herbs de provence. They went really well with stuffed mushrooms and sweet potato fries.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

German Skillet with Mustard Cream Sauce

After processing our hogs, I ended up with quite a bit of ground German sausage. It's the first time I've ever really used it in cooking so I'll be trying various Pinterest recipes for the next few months. The hubby would say, "you don't have to keep looking, just make this one over and over." He ended up eating 2 big bowls of it last night and again for breakfast this morning. Hehe. 

I did make a few adjustments. One of my most favorite attachments for my KitchenAid stand mixer is the Dicer/Slicer. It makes perfect little potato cubes (which makes it faster to cook and easier to eat). I first cooked the sausage in a pot with onions and garlic then added the potatoes with some chicken broth. After allowing that to cook for about 30 minutes, I added the sauerkraut, brown mustard and regular milk for another 15 minutes. Finally I added the heavy cream and cooked 15 more minutes. No salt needed due to the sauerkraut, chicken broth and sausage, but I did add some black pepper and white vinegar for extra kick. [German sausage has red pepper flakes so it was plenty spicy, but not too much--perfect for the hubby and me.]

Monday, November 13, 2017

Pineapple Mango "Ice Cream" (AIP, gluten-free; dairy free)

This was super easy and delicious! During the summer, the hubby bought a bunch of pineapples and mangos when they were on sale. I pureed and froze it until I could decide what to do with it. Recently I've had couple of friends that are wanting to follow the Auto-Immune Paleo diet, so the hardest part is finding desserts since I'm used to traditional farm baking (with wheat flour in everything). The great thing about this one is that it makes great popcicles too (which the hubby eats every other day). :) For this recipe, taste it before adding the maple syrup. I added some to this one because I wanted more of a sweetened ice cream taste, but for smoothies, you would likely want to omit the syrup.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Stovetop Biscuits with Sausage Gravy

Finally got a chance to try our breakfast sausage. It's also the first time I've ever made biscuits and gravy from scratch. The hubby raved about it, literally stating "that's the best b&g I've ever had; we grow some tasty hogs". This particular recipe was fun to make because it can all be done on the stovetop. It's definitely going in my file of camping recipes. Drop biscuits are so much faster-the tricky part is getting the temperature right. I cut he recipe in half since it was just the 2 of us.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Cheeseburger Casserole (Tex Mex style)

Tonight we had several avocados that needed to get used. I had a package of ground yak meat as well, so I literally typed "hamburger and avocados" in Pinterest and this is what I chose mostly because the picture looked like what I wanted. I made a lot of changes though to fit what I was in the mood for:
1. The "green" in the picture became avocados instead of pickle; diced the avocado and tomatoes and soaked them in lemon and lime juice before adding them to the pot.
2. Added fajita seasoning to the yak and cooked a yellow onion (from our garden) with it
3. No tomato paste
4. No dijon mustard
5. Used Rigatoni instead of rotini

It turned out awesome! Very fresh tasting. We both gobbled it up. :)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

I had a surplus of apples and decided to go for decadence for once (ok more than once, lol). I didn't end up adding the caramel (ran out of time), but I must say, the hubby and I will not be losing weight this week. Absolutely scrumptious and not really that much effort. It is best to make it overnight and eat it the next day. But, it does make a 13x9 pan's worth...however, it doesn't seem to be a problem for us.

I love the title of her website; I can totally relate :)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Paleo Ice Cream (Dairy-Free)

This is dessert #1 of my AIP dinner from last week. It was pretty good, but I've since found other similar recipes that include coconut milk and vanilla. But, for being a 3 ingredient dessert, the guests really enjoyed the combination of bananas, cocoa and almond butter. :)

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Proschiutto & Rosemary Wrapped Apples

We are always honored when friends drive out to our place from Denver. Last weekend, I was challenged to make an Anti-Inflammatory Paleo Dinner. I also had purchased a large box of MacIntosh apples from a neighbor, so I was excited to find this recipe. It's probably one of the best appetizers I've ever had. It's worth the extra pennies for prosciutto. :)

Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

It's pumpkin season and I hosted a "Pumpkin Spice Party". I've made pumpkin mini muffins in the past, but I'm so happy I looked for another version. The recipe's claim as the best, I will have to agree. I didn't have mini chocolate chips so I used had some leftover oreo/peanut butter cup crumbles from a previous recipe. I think it made this already delicious recipe even better.

1 Hour Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

It's pumpkin season, so I hosted a "Pumpkin Spice Party". I ventured out and tried this pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe. It was good, but I will still defer to the last 1 hour cinnamon roll recipe I posted--so far it remains the best. This recipe was definitely easy and fun for this time of year.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Steak Marsala

The hubby's tagged me in his cousin's post for this recipe the other day. So I decided, "why not?", I've got all of the ingredients. I substituted potatoes from our garden rather than cauliflower, used up some Pinot Grigio I had in the refrigerator and used steak cubes instead. Needless to say, the hubby LOVED it and I didn't even get to have seconds. lol

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Slow Cooker Apple BBQ Ribs

Recipe #2 countdown of my bushel-full of Macintosh. This was an out-of-this-world recipe and thank goodness it was in the crockpot because we ended up having an extra busy, but productive day around the ranch. I used onions from the garden as well as applesauce from the Yellow Transparent apples. I added potatoes to the bottom (also from the garden) and garlic & pepper, for a well rounded meal. Probably one of the best rib recipes I've had in a while. :)

Apple Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins

I was recently given a bushel of Macintosh apples. I've been letting them ripen but am now starting to need to use them. So, just like zucchini and pumpkin, I will be looking for a month long stretch of apple recipes. Today, managed to find the first 2. This recipe is fairly healthy as far as muffins go. I didn't have whole wheat pastry flour, so I used regular flour instead. I also used homemade applesauce (from my last batch of Yellow Transparent apples). Really great recipe for breakfast muffins. [I used 2 apples instead for a chunkier muffin and omitted the raisins.]

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

I have a freezer full of kale, chard and zucchini; I also have boxes of potatoes--blessings of the garden harvest. I don't think I've actually eaten the Olive Garden version, but the ingredients were perfect to give it a try. Oh man! I am super glad I tried this one. The ingredients sounded good, but when you put it all together it's Amazing! I did make a few changes: I used chicken thighs instead of sausage, added some lemon juice and used Arrowroot instead of cornstarch, and opted for the kale. I think next time I'll ad quinoa or rice, otherwise this is one really worth a go.

Pumpkin Pie Crunch

I saw this recipe last week and couldn't get it off my mind. I finally got the opportunity to try it last night. This is one that will blow your mind considering how easy it was to make. The only way to serve/eat this is hot from the oven over ice cream. It felt like Thanksgiving had come early. Sooooo yummy. It does make a whole 13x9, so I suggest freezing or having guests over. :)

Monday, October 2, 2017

Slow Cooker Gumbo

We had just enough okra from our garden to make a nice big pot of gumbo. I added some tiny potatoes and tomatoes from the garden as well as chicken broth, salt and rotel. Now I don't have to cook for the week. lol

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Ahi Tuna

Friday nights are date night, which is usually stay home, cook a higher end dinner and watch a movie. This week, the hubby bought ahi tuna steaks. This marinade was so delicious. I added a little pepper and we had Beet and Russian Kale With Goat Cheese (a recent addition to our household recipes) on the side instead. I added some rice to the rice cooker. Thumbs up!

Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles

The hubby surprised me with pickles from the garden this weekend. I was excited because I forgot to make myself some bread and butter pickles. [I'm not a fan of dill pickles--the hubby loves both.] Once again, I love this recipe because I don't have to can them. I find that I can get crispier pickles when I don't have to give them a canner bath in boiling water and don't have to add extra preservatives. I really like the recipes from BrownEyedBaker and this one was just as great! I did end up adding cloves and a little bit of garlic. I also liked that it had turmeric as one of the ingredients. Now, I just need to order one of those cool wavy slicers that she used. :)

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

The last of the zucchini came in this weekend. The sweets are getting low, so I popped this in the oven. I decided to cut the recipe in half and used 2 bread pans. Silly me forgot the walnuts, but I think next time I'll also add chocolate chips. This recipe uses coconut oil, so I had to make sure the eggs were room temperature and ran the mixing bowl under hot water to keep the oil from hardening too quickly. Definitely a good snack. :)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Zucchini (No) Crab Cakes

I got the inspiration to use Old Bay in Zucchini fritters a couple of years ago from my mother-in-law in North Carolina. Unfortunately, I forgot to save the recipe, so I looked up a similar version. It just wasn't as good this time. Then (after the fact), I looked up a few others and decided I'll try again. Posting the one I tried first, then the one I'll try next second. I think I will also add fresh chopped onions and fresh garlic also.

Italian Zucchini Bread

Oh wow--probably one of my new favorite savory breads, and no yeast! I didn't take into account the elevation and density of the bread. It actually took about 1.5 hours to bake, so it didn't get out in time for dinner. When the hubby tasted it, he said, "it needs marinara". Noted for next time. I actually think I'll put it in a 13x9 jelly roll pan or baking dish and make breadsticks or make muffins. It didn't seem like a traditional loaf pan was the right dish for this recipe. Since then I've found more recipes in this category with zucchini. Can't wait to try more. :)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sweet and Spicy Zucchini Refrigerator Pickles

Thanks to a friend of a friend who suggested zucchini pickles. Can't wait to deliver a jar to her! This was such an unusual recipe with tumeric and mustard that I was skeptical. I made them 2 days ago, but already the flavor is out of this world! This is like no pickle you've ever tasted---and if you had, can you please share with me? :)  Thank you Vera for the inspiration. Definitely going to make again next year. The bonus is that you don't have to get the canner out. Just spend a few dollars on wide mouth canning jars. :)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins

I know it's still another 4 days until fall, but I have zucchini that's ready now. I decided it was time to break out the pumpkin recipes. I made this recipe twice (rather than doubling), but the second time, I forgot the baking powder and baking just turned out really dense but I guess it's all for me since I wouldn't share it with anyone else--too embarrassing. Oh darn lol. ;)

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Banana Bread

It's that time of year. Between the months of July-September, I post all the latest zucchini recipe finds that I can come up with. Even after all that, I still end up with a freezer full of shredded and chopped squash. We are blessed to have such a lush garden. This is a great twist on traditional banana bread and with the chocolate chips, you could probably get the kids to eat it.

Chicken Avocado Lime Soup

The hubby bought a bag of limes last week, so I've had to figure out what to do with them. Although margaritas come to mind, I decided to first (re-)make Salsa Verde (Green Chili), then made Green Chili Breakfast Burrito Casserole and tonight Chicken Avocado Lime Soup. I added black beans, corn, and green chili.  I served it with tortillas, sour cream and shredded cheese. Definitely a good one for a cold night. :)